First, it's important that you see a doctor to be evaluated if you are experiencing frequent heartburn. Frequent heartburn can be a symptom of something more serious, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Once you receive a diagnosis, you can discuss your treatment options with your doctor. Also, you should never begin or stop any treatment without consulting a physician.
Effective treatment of GERD is important because, if not treated properly, GERD may result in serious problems, such as esophagitis and Barrett’s esophagus. If a medication or home remedy isn't working to control your heartburn, it is important to discuss an alternative treatment with your doctor.
The alternative remedies listed below, such as apple cider vinegar and chamomile tea, have been used as home remedies for heartburn. However, it's important to note that in most cases there haven't been any clinical trials to support their effect on heartburn.
Some home remedies you may want to try are:
Baking SodaBaking soda is a natural antacid. If you dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water, it can neutralize acid and temporarily alleviate heartburn caused by acid reflux.
There are some drawbacks to this, however. When you add baking soda to water, it releases carbon dioxide. That's what causes the fizz. This fizz can open the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to enable you to burp and help relieve the pressure from bloating. Unfortunately, though, opening the LES can also allow stomach contents to reflux up into the esophagus.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL)DGL is another remedy used for heartburn. It is available in chewable tablets or capsules that you can break open and dissolve in water. You should not use DGL if you have been diagnosed with hypertension and/or are receiving treatment for hypertension.
BananasWhile it's not established medical fact, some people believe bananas may act as a natural antacid in the body. You can eat either fresh or dried bananas.
Chamomile TeaChamomile has been used to help neutralize stomach acid. It is also used by people as a stress reliever.
Apple Cider VinegarPeople have reported that natural apple cider vinegar works for them. Apple cider vinegar can be taken in tablet, capsule, or liquid form.
GingerFresh ginger is one of the oldest home remedies for heartburn. It is also used to help treat nausea. Ginger can be added to food when it's cooked, eaten raw, or consumed as ginger tea.
TurmericTurmeric helps stimulate digestion and prevent acid build-up. Turmeric is used in curried foods. If you don't want to use turmeric in your cooking, it is available in capsule form and can be taken before meals.
Aloe Vera JuiceThe juice from the aloe vera plant has been used to soothe an irritated esophagus. Aloe vera juice has a long history of use in Europe as a natural home remedy to relive heartburn. You should only use aloe vera juice that has been specifically prepared for internal use.
Again, it is important to remember that none of these remedies have been carefully studied or compared with standard medications for acid suppression. Before trying any of them, discuss with your healthcare provider.
Carol Ann Rinzler, Ken DeVault, MD. Heartburn & Reflux for Dummies. Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2004. ISBN: 0-7645-5688-6
Magee, Elaine: Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Acid Reflux. Book-mart Press: New Page Books, 2001, ISBN: 1564145743.
Rogers, M.D., Sherry A.. No More Heartburn: Stop the Pain in 30 Days -- Naturally. Kensington Publishing Corp., 2000.
Sklar, Jill and Cohen, Annabel: Eating for Acid Reflux: Marlowe & Company; Imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, Inc. 2003, ISBN: 1569244928.